Simplicity In Life

“All the wonderful things in life are so simple that one is not aware of their wonder until they are beyond touch.’ – Frances Gunther

The first thing that comes to mind after reading Frances’s words are lyrics from the song Big Yellow Taxi, “Don’t it always seem to go. That you don’t know what you’ve got ’til its gone.” So often in life we overlook the simple things in life–the apple pie, the smile of a friend, the time at the lake on a hot summer day, the simple dinner. Instead we focus on the more complicated, be it a meal, vacation, or plan… and in doing so, many other things in our lives get complicated as well. My stress goes up, my happiness in life falters, my soul seems to become tired and burdened–the end result is seldom good.

Who wants us to be complicated? Usually people who want to sell us something. Psychologists and psychiatrists make tons of money because of our tendency to try to work through complicated problems and relationships rather than letting them go and finding more simple ones to deal with. Scientists and engineers and architects tend to agree that the best solution is almost always going to be the simplest one, and that solution is going to be wonderful.

Why, then, do we allow so many wonderful and simple things slip out of our grasps? Why do we see simple as somehow less worthy, and ignore it because we think that more complicated would be better? Why do we spend more money than necessary on extremely expensive things that has all sorts of bells and whistles that ends up complicating our lives.

Simplicity is such a wonderful word and a great goal for us in our lives. When I stay focused on the simple, I can be truly aware of just how wonderful the simple things are. Rainy days, sunny days, snowy days, vanilla ice cream, good books, friends who do not make complicated demands, the smell of coffee brewing on a quiet Saturday morning, a cold glass of milk, jeans and a t-shirt–there are so many simple things that we lost sight of as being wonderful in our quest to complicate our lives that it is quite a shame. The Spanish have a wonderful saying: “No me compliques la vida,” which means, “Do not complicate my life.” They know that the simple always will be good, if we just see it and appreciate it for what it is.

Questions to consider:

Who teaches us that complicated is better? If no one actually teaches us that, how do we learn it?

What are some simple things in your life right now that also are beautiful?

What kinds of complicated things or situations can you do without in your life right now? How can you shed those things successfully?

For further thought:

“Do you know the more I look into life, the more things it seems to me I can successfully lack–and continue to grow happier. How many kinds of food I do not need, or cooks to cook them, how much curious clothing or tailors to make it, how many books I have never read, and pictures that are not worthwhile! The farther I run, the more I feel like casting aside all such impediments–lest I fail to arrive at the far goal of my endeavor.” – David Grayson

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Filed under Commentary, Food For Thought, Living, Opinion

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